National Security Brief: Turkish Prime Minster Wants No-Fly Zone In Syria

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Thursday that he believes the Syrian government has used chemical weapons and that he would support a U.S.-led no-fly zone in Syria.

“It is clear the regime has used chemical weapons and missiles,” Erdogan said in an interview with NBC News, reiterating comments he made last week. When asked whether Turkey would support a U.S.-enforced no-fly zone, Erdogan said, “Right from the beginning … we would say ‘yes.’”

“”We want the United States to assume more responsibilities and take further steps. And what sort of steps they will take, we are going to talk about this,” he said.

Arab leaders are offering a similar call. The Wall Street Journal reports that “[t]he U.S.’s closest Arab allies are jointly pressing President Barack Obama to take the lead in bridging the Middle East’s divisions over Syria”:


The coordinated message was delivered to Mr. Obama during separate White House meetings in recent weeks with Jordan’s King Abdullah II, the United Arab Emirates’ Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan and Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister Saud al-Faisal, according to senior U.S. and Arab officials familiar with the discussions.

Meanwhile, lawmakers are pressing the White House to get deeper involved in Syria, but Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel is continuing to hold the line on the Obama administration’s cautious approach to the situation in Syria, saying that it, and the crisis surrounding Iran’s nuclear program, require “political, not military” solutions.

In other news:

  • The New York Times reports: A Tunisian man has been accused of seeking to develop a terrorist network in the United States and of proposing to poison the water or air to kill up to 100,000 people, federal prosecutors said in court papers unsealed on Thursday.
  • The Hill reports: House members introduced legislation Thursday that would require the administration to provide advance notice to defense lawmakers of any so-called “kill/capture” counterterrorism operations against al Qaeda and other Islamic militant groups.